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Posts Tagged ‘Public Services’

Leon’s library campaign on film

August 11th, 2014 by

Last week I went to Cornwall to visit a 38 Degrees member making political waves – at just ten years old. Leon Remphry started a campaign to protect Cornwall’s libraries only a few weeks ago and support is already snowballing. He’s been interviewed by a whole host of journalists. And now councillors, as well as the local MP, are sitting up and taking notice.

Leon began his campaign when he visited Falmouth library one Saturday afternoon only to find it was closed. As his Mum is a 38 Degrees member, he decided to create a petition on Campaigns by You – a part of our website where anyone can start a campaign. And Leon’s proved just how easy it is to create a buzz around an issue you care about.

I met Leon for a morning of action outside Falmouth library. We gathered signatures with hoards of Leon’s school friends. It was exciting to see young faces standing up for the things they care about. It struck me that it would be pretty sad to see these little campaigners have less and less access to a library.

Lib Dem Councillor Adam Paynter, who is responsible for library provision in Cornwall, came along to meet Leon. He explained that library provisions were changing because of budget cuts – that it was out of their hands.

But Leon is just a few hundred signatures away from sparking a council debate. There’s a chance he can persuade Councillors to re-think how they spend their decreasing budget. Either way, Leon’s not giving up – he’s got his sight set on Downing Street if that’s what it takes to win the campaign! Click here to sign his petition.

Have you got any ideas of how Leon could continue his campaign? Do you live in Cornwall? If so, comment below.

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Land Registry: Victory!

July 16th, 2014 by

Fantastic news: the Government has scrapped its plans to sell off the Land Registry.

Over 100,000 38 Degrees members signed the petition to save the Land Registry – and together we helped push the government to back down.

Taken aback by the sheer number of people against their plans – from ordinary people, to trade unions and civil servants – government sources admitted it would have been “just too complicated” to get a law through to make this happen.

James, the 38 Degrees member who started the petition to stop the privatisation of the Land Registry on Campaigns by You says:

“The response from 38 Degrees members to the campaign has been fantastic. The Government’s response is a sign of what people can achieve when we get together.

The Government would need new legislation if they wanted to privatise the Land Registry – and that’s off the cards now until after the next election. So let’s all raise a glass to a job well done!”

It’s been an amazing few weeks for 38 Degrees members fighting for our public services. First, we stopped the privatisation of child protection services – and now we’ve put a stop to the Land Registry sell off. But most 38 Degrees members would agree that it’s no time to rest on our laurels.

And the only way we can keep making the case for public services – run for people over profit – is to remain completely independent. That’s why we’re funded by hundreds of thousands of 38 Degrees members who chip in and prioritise the campaigns that we run together.

Here’s a photo of the petition being handed in at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills:

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Hospital Closure Clause: an ambitious plan

April 22nd, 2014 by

Over the last week 38 Degrees members have been voting to decide our next move on the campaign to protect our hospitals. Together we’ve decided to throw everything at stopping the hospital closure clause – to keep our hospitals safe.

The hospital closure clause is not law yet. It returns to the House of Lords on 7th May. It’s going to be difficult to persuade enough Lords to support it. Especially because peers aren’t elected by voters, so our usual people-powered tactics don’t work.

But, we’ve got an ambitious plan. Baroness Finlay, an influential doctor and crossbench peer has agreed to lead the charge in the House of Lords. She’s putting forward changes to the law that make sure that decisions about closing hospitals will only be made in the best interest of patients. Now we need to get enough Lords to support the amendment.

So here’s the plan:
- We deliver a briefing backed by legal heavyweights to every single member of the House of Lords making the case for them to support the amendment
- We put on expert face-to-face briefings to persuade Lords to back Baroness Finlay’s amendment
- Lots of 38 Degrees members have personal relationships with members of the House of Lords. We ask those of us who do know members of the House of Lords to get in touch with them and ask them to support the Finlay amendment
- The staff team will also get in touch with Lords we’ve worked with before to do one-on-one briefings

But to do this, we need the money to make it possible. Can you help by chipping in a few pounds to make this plan a reality? Click here to make a secure donation now.

The money you donate will go towards:
- producing a glossy, informative and persuasive briefing paper which the office team will send to every single member of the House of Lords
- putting on a face-to-face briefing, getting top lawyers and hospital campaigners along to persuade sceptical Lords to back the amendment

38 Degrees is funded by small donations by hundreds of thousands of us. Sometimes 38 Degrees members come together to pay for tactics like this to give us our best chance of winning, which otherwise we couldn’t afford.

We’ve got less than a month to convince as many Lords as possible to back an amendment which does as much as possible to keep our hospitals free from danger. So, together let’s roll up our sleeves and get stuck in.

Do you have any thoughts? Leave your comments below.

 

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NHS Care.data: What should we do together?

February 17th, 2014 by

In just two weeks, the personal medical records of everyone in England will start being sent to a central database – Care.data – to be used by the NHS to improve its services. If it’s done right, Care.data could be used to make our NHS even better.

But there’s a catch: private companies will be able to buy access to our data too – private companies like Serco or big pharmaceutical companies who would love to see our NHS privatised and run entirely for profit.

It’s been all over the papers and causing huge concern. Hundreds of 38 Degrees members have suggested that we work together to fix the plans. But so far the organisation running Care.data – NHS England – is pushing ahead despite public opposition. Maybe they’re hoping to weather the storm.

We can turn up the pressure and force them to listen. We all have the right to opt out of the scheme. If we organise hundreds of thousands of us to opt out, we’ll show NHS England they need to change the rules and stop private companies having access to our data.

We can make it happen. But we don’t have much time. Care.data is due to launch at the beginning of March. This week the office team has been putting in place a system that could allow us to launch a huge mass opt-out. Opting out will only up the pressure if enough of us are behind it. So will you answer this simple question now: do you think we should organise a mass opt-out from Care.data to put pressure on NHS England to fix the scheme?

Despite few people understanding the plans – we’ve all been automatically opted in to the scheme. Lots of 38 Degrees members have been in touch with concerns about what will happen to our medical records once they’re on Care.data.

NHS England, the organisation that oversees the NHS in England, insists our records will be anonymised and secure. But many GPs are withholding their own records because of concerns about how they could be used.

38 Degrees members have been speaking out against Care.data in droves:

“I work in the NHS and have opted out. I don’t want anyone else to see my confidential data.” – Sarah

“I am happy for my anonymised data to be used for the benefit of improving healthcare in our population. Problem is, I do not believe the current security measures are sufficient to protect my personal data.” – Alan

“While I can see the benefits of sharing data between hospitals and GPs. I don’t think it is appropriate or ethical to sell confidential information to third parties. That is despicable” – Sandra

Opting out now doesn’t mean you have to stay opted-out. Once the scheme is fixed anyone can contact their GP again and opt back in.

So, what do you think? Should we stage a mass opt-out from Care.data?

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We refuse to lose our loos

August 13th, 2013 by

‘We Refuse to Lose Our Loos’ read Lin Patterson’s banner last Friday in Bath as she and other 38 Degrees members handed in her petition to save the city’s public toilets. Loads of supporters showed up on the day, and with Lin’s petition of over 2,300 signatures, we now have a real chance to overturn the council’s decision to close down public toilets in Bath. 

Recently Lin spent 72 hours locked in a cubicle that was due to be shut down by Bath council and has been actively seeking support to overturn the council’s decision to close down many of the city’s public toilets. Millions of people in the UK suffer with urinary problems, and a lot of older people feel trapped inside their homes as a result. Closing down the public loos would aggravate the problem.

After starting a campaign on Campaigns by You, the number of signatures on her petition rocketed and she used this to attracted a lot of public and media attention. With banners in the air reading slogans such as, ‘You’re Taking the P’, and ‘Hands off our Loos’, it is not surprising that she and other 38 Degrees members caught the public’s eye!

Now it is up to the council to debate the issue, and for us to get ready to ramp up the pressure on the council to keep our public toilets in Bath open. You can sign Lin’s petition here.

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Citizen Journalism – take part in the fight!

August 6th, 2013 by

Hello,

My name is Guddi and I am a Paediatric doctor working with 38 Degrees to help protect our NHS.

The Health and Social Care Act came into force on April 1st 2013 – despite the lack of any democratic mandate, massive public opposition and dissent from virtually every medical professional body. A joke on us all, we were betrayed. Our government saw fit to put our health up for sale, and far from speaking up for it, the media has been either inaudible or misrepresentative about the NHS.

Reclaiming Our NHS – Dispatches from the Frontline” is an initiative between openDemocracy’s ourNHS and 38 Degrees to provide a public platform and whistleblowing service for ordinary people to speak up about the healthcare reforms as they see them. We hope this space will make it clear that the public will not stand meekly by while the NHS is being dismantled – we will not be silent. Moreover, as a collation of experiences from around the country, it can be used to hold our politicians accountable for their actions. We also hope that it can act as a resource for campaigners to make contact and organize together.

Because that is what “Reclaiming Our NHS” is all about. It’s your stories, your experiences and it’s your words. It doesn’t have to give you a voice, because you already have one. It’s just going to help it get heard. This is news of the people, by the people, for the people – citizen journalism in its truest sense.

Whether you are a seasoned activist, patient, healthcare employee or simply someone who cares, we want to hear from you.

To see what other 38 Degrees members have been up to, go to ourNHS.

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Fire service: under threat

February 22nd, 2013 by

Revealed: it looks like the government is planning to privatise our fire service. It’s trying to sneak in new laws that “would enable fire and rescue authorities in England to contract out their full range of services to a suitable provider”.

Every day, fire crews put their lives in danger to keep us safe. Within minutes of an emergency, we can expect fire engines to be there to save lives and protect our property. Privatising these vital services might seem crazy. But that’s exactly what the government is trying to slip through a hush-hush parliamentary committee.

Let’s make sure the government knows we’re watching. We’ve seen bad ideas get much too far before. We need to move fast to show the government that we want a fire service whose priority is protecting people’s lives, not making profit. Together we can prove how unpopular privatising the fire service would be with the public. Sign the petition here.

Our fire service is a precious emergency service that we all depend on for our lives and our safety. Between 2011 and 2012, English firefighters attended 606,000 incidents. If the government is allowed to sell the fire service off to private companies, then the essence of our fire service, a service for all of us whenever we need it, might be lost forever.

Private companies have been circling the fire service for years. They recognise that money can be made and they want to piggyback off a service the public holds dear.

The government can’t afford another big battle over privatisation. It’ll know that 38 Degrees members were responsible for stopping the sell-off of our forests and making sure the NHS changes were as controversial as possible. 

So let’s make sure they know they’re up against us again. Sign the petition to stop privatisation of our fire service now.

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NHS: options for next steps

April 17th, 2012 by

Introduction

Following the passing of the Health and Social Care Act last month, 38 Degrees members voted overwhelmingly to carry on campaigning to protect our NHS. This post sets out some specific options for what we could do next.

The options proposed here are based on over 50,000 suggestions made by 38 Degrees members, which the office team have read through and collated. They are also informed by suggestions made by a range of experts, from health academics, to people working in the NHS, and lawyers.

It’s 38 Degrees members who will take the actions and chip in to make these options work, so it’s crucial that 38 Degrees members vote together to decide what we do. In the next week we’ll all have the chance to vote on which tactics we most want to take forward.

The purpose of this blog post is to set out a draft list of the options, before they are finalised and put to the vote – to give 38 Degrees members and experts the chance to help refine them before voting starts.

Please post your comments below this blog.

Top-level assumptions

First, here are some top-level assumptions that have been made in proposing this list of options:

- The Health and Social Care Act has set in place a framework that pushes the NHS towards fragmentation and privatisation. But with the right campaigning, we could slow the pace of these changes or even change their direction.

- Now that the Act has been passed, much of the focus will need to be local. We’ll need to focus on local decision-makers who are now tasked with implementing the new NHS structure, and use local issues to create national pressure.

- The next general election will be a major milestone. It’s too early to say what we’ll need to do then, but the commitments of candidates standing for election, and of course who wins, could have a big influence on the future of the NHS. If we can influence implementation of the changes now and keep the NHS on the agenda, we can lay the foundations for it being a big issue come election time.

- 38 Degrees can’t save the NHS on its own! We need to work alongside a whole range of other organisations working on the NHS, and we’ll rely on advice and intelligence from a range of experts. We should continue to play a role in bringing different groups together and encouraging networking, and we’ll need to explore ways in which we could help this happen more effectively – including devoting more 38 Degrees staff time to coordination and networking.

List of options

Below is the draft list of possible tactics:

Options with a local focus

1.Campaign to push local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to adopt pro-NHS policies

CCGs are the important new bodies led by GPs who have now been given responsibility for spending huge amounts of NHS money, and will be taking important decisions about the future of our healthcare. Together we could pressure them to steer clear of privatisation and safeguard the NHS:

- Produce template policies, checked by lawyers, which could be adopted by CCGs to make NHS and not-for-profit providers their preferred options for all contracts

- Organised local campaigns to encourage CCGs to do the right thing – with leafleting, petitions, local events etc

- Provide networking and support to pro-NHS CCGs if they come under pressure from the government or private companies

2. Campaign against local market failures, cuts and privatisation caused by the Health and Social Care Act

If and when things start to go wrong in a local area, we could help sound the alarm and call for a change of approach to solve the problems. We could:

- Host and promote local petitions, demonstrations, and e-mail actions against local problems

- Provide resources and networking to local campaigners and 38 Degrees members engaged in these campaigns

- Bring local problems to national attention, and put pressure on the government to fix them

3. Develop local networks of concerned citizens who can act as a people powered NHS watchdog

By joining and working with existing local mechanisms, we can influence how healthcare is handled. Some ways would be to:

- Support 38 Degrees members to join local HealthWatch boards, local Health and Wellbeing Boards, Foundation Trust boards and GP Patient Participation Groups

- Provide training and support to members of local health groups, such as training events, monthly phone conference calls with experts, online briefings

- Offer support for people when they expose dodgy practices and whistleblow

- Look out for key moments and organise local campaigns to ensure decisions about the NHS go in the right direction, for example, decisions about whether or not to lift the limits on how much private work can be done by an NHS hospital

Options with a national focus

4. Build a national picture of market failures, cuts and privatisation

If we draw together local information, this could become a powerful national campaigning tool and keep the spotlight on the national impact of the NHS changes. Together we could:

- Organise an online database to map and aggregate problems within the NHS

- Offer a package of support to prospective whistleblowers exposing local problems

- Pay for investigators to look into Freedom of Information requests, undercover investigations and media monitoring

- Train 38 Degrees members to conduct local investigative and watchdog work and feed this back so it can be aggregated nationally

5. Act as a deterrent to private companies encroaching on the NHS

Private healthcare companies will tempted to aggressively pursue NHS contracts, e.g. by wining, dining and hosting events for CCGs or by using expensive lawyers to demand they are awarded contracts. To protect the role of our NHS, we could:

- Lift the lid on health corporation sponsorship of NHS events/conferences or public events like the London marathon

- Organise protests and stunts at shareholder events and outside offices of senior staff

- Support NHS bodies if private companies attack them e.g. by using competition law

- Use undercover investigation or Yes Men style stunts to expose dodgy dealings and conflicts of interest


6. Make the NHS an issue in elections from by-elections to city mayoral elections

Politicians need to take a stand and pledge a better future for our NHS. To make this happen, we could:

- Challenge local candidates to say what they will do to protect the NHS

- Name and shame candidates who broken election promises on healthcare

- Support pro-NHS candidates in elections

7. Support laid off NHS staff to set up alternatives to expensive management consultancies and multinational corporations

Big private companies don’t have to be the only solution as NHS services are broken up and NHS staff are laid off. We could tried to help the people being forced out of the NHS to setup alternatives to private sector involvement. To do this we could:

- Support staff being laid off to set up their own co-ops or mutual service providers as an alternative to multinationals

- Put pressure on CC keys to consider not-for-profit alternatives to management consultants and multinational corporations

Top line questions and next steps

This blog post aims to set out the list of options for comment before 38 Degrees members vote on the final list of options in a few days time. The more comments and suggestions we get at this draft stage the better – so the poll and options are as good as they can be.

Key questions:

- Are at the top level assumptions the right ones?

- Are there any options for tactics missing?

- Do the ones here look right?

- Are these options for tactics realistic?

- Are there any particular experts or organisations we should be talking to about any of these ideas

- Are there any dates, events or political developments coming up that we should be aware of?

Over the next few days the 38 Degrees office team will read the comments on this blog and continue speaking to experts who will also have key feedback and input. The voting will start as soon as this round of feedback has been incorporated.

Please post your comments below.

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NHS BILLBOARDS: From High Street to Backstreet

March 8th, 2012 by

Have you seen them yet? More than 133 huge billboards have gone up in London, all shown on the map below, and 82 more are being put up from today in high streets across the country. More than 21,000 38 Degrees members have chipped in over £300,000 to make this happen. It’s an amazing result.

Check out the latest photos of the ads on Flickr here – plus you can see a list of where the ads are in a spreadsheet by clicking here.

But it’s not over yet! From 19th March there will be more ads going up across the country – we’ll keep updating the 38 Degrees blog to say where these will be.

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Government publishes changes to the NHS Bill

February 2nd, 2012 by

Photograph by 38 Degrees

The NHS fight

A few hours ago the Government published their latest amendments to Andrew Lansley’s NHS Bill. These changes could be fantastic news – or just clever spin designed to pull wool over the eyes of those that want to protect our NHS.

Over the next few days our lawyers are going to look at the Government’s proposed changes line by line to find out what improvements, if any, have been made.

Once the facts are clear the 38 Degrees office team will create a list of things we could do together next. The list will be emailed as a poll for members to vote on or add new suggestions. It looks like we’ll be ready to launch that poll early next week.

Any thoughts on what we should do next? Please do share any ideas in the comment box below.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts, Stand up for the NHS

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